The Havana Grill in downtown Cary is a great outdoor spot for lunch. The food is cafeteria style. Everything is out for you to look at, and I usually get an entree and 2 sides for $6.45. Of course they also have the Cuban sandwich, which is my husband’s favorite.
Today I got the fried flounder with yellow rice and red beans. I also got some flan to share, and a cookie. They usually serve 2 pieces of fried bread along with the meal for free. Previously I’ve had the sliced roast pork with onions, black beans and rice, and cuban fries. Everything I’ve had here has been very good. The only issue would be the food temperature. Because everything (except the sandwiches) are pre-made, sitting under heat lamps, sometimes the food may get a bit cool, and not taste as fresh. The fish would have been absolutely perfect if I was able to get it straight out of the fryer, instead of being the second-to-last piece left on the hot plate. But you can’t have too many complaints for food that’s so cheap and quick.
My husband always gets the Cuban. It’s made with real Cuban pressed bread, sliced pork, sliced ham, Swiss cheese, pickles and mustard. The Cuban fries are always crunchy and tasty, but as with the fish, there’s a problem with temperature. I’ve never had the opportunity to eat the fries when they’re fresh out of the fryer, and I’m sure they’d be better that way.
The desserts are always good here. I’ve had the three milk cake before, which is delicious and rich. It reminds me a bit of tiramisu, but without the coffee flavor. Today we got the caramel flan which was also very rich and creamy, and big enough for two people to share without feeling cheated. The cookie I got for my son, and unfortunately he didn’t like it much. It was 2 very dry, flower-shaped sugar cookies coated with powdered sugar, with some caramel-type stuff in the middle which glued them together. I didn’t mind it but it wasn’t as good as their other desserts.
The atmosphere at this restaurant is very casual. The plates and utensils are plastic, the cups are styrofoam, and the seating is just cheap metal chairs and tables. The inside is usually pretty crowded, especially in cold or hot weather, but we usually only try and go here when it’s nice enough to sit outside anyway. The outdoor area is roomy and comfortable, with shade, and has lively Cuban music playing throughout the eating area.
I haven’t been here for evenings, but I’m told they’ve got live music and the bar outside is actually active. Seems like a really nice place to socialize, though the tables aren’t big enough if you’ve got more than 4 people.
Overall the casual outdoor seating and cheap meals makes for a great lunch place. Havana’s has a website at http://www.thehavanagrill.com/ if you’d like to check out the menu before you go.